Support to Territorial and Administrative Reform

What is the programme about?

Administrative Map of Albania
Administrative Map of Albania

The undertaking of a territorial and administrative reform is one of the main priorities of the current Government of Albania’s programme, aiming at the further democratization and strengthening of the governance in the territory and the encouraging of economic efficiency through the creation of premises for an integrated planning in a more consolidated administrative space. The relatively high number and small size of most local government units coupled with concerns of efficiency and quality of service provision has increasingly been considered as a serious obstacle to local governance and development and emerged in national policy debates since early 2003.

The Government of Albania anticipates that through a twin track approach: the administrative consolidation and the revision of the current fiscal and decentralization frameworks, several key benefits will be yielded for the local governments, including:

  • Savings achieved from reduced duplication, reduced operating costs and streamlined systems and processes
  • Enhanced ability to attract and retain professional staff as well as create demand for expertise in new areas
  • Enhanced ability to provide a greater range of services with greater quality and lower unit costs
  • Better access to technology, increased productivity and economies of scale
  • Improved long term integrated planning, including management and maintenance of assets
  • More equitable revenue raising and service distribution in the territory
  • Increased capacity to attract state and donor funding and a more appropriate position to partner with businesses for community projects

Committed to a successful and swift implementation of such an administrative and territorial reform, also taking into consideration the adoption of the new territorial division for the next local elections scheduled for mid-2015, the Government of Albania has put forward during 2014 an intensive and comprehensive reform process, which produced a new administrative map for the country by end of July, legislated by the Parliament in early September. The newly approved administrative division reduces the current number of 373 LGUs to 61 new and larger LGUs.

The Parliamentary approval of the Law last mid-September has paved the way for embarking on the development of the approach and the action plan for the amalgamation as per the following incremental implementation sequence:

1.    Design the amalgamation procedures through piloting and testing it initially in a few selected LGUs

2.    Dissemination of the consensual model/approach to the rest of the LGUs through training of trainers and formation of field amalgamation teams

3.    Coaching and capacity building to amalgamation stakeholders and beneficiaries

To support this major government reform, the donor community has agreed to establish a multi-donor fund under the management of UNDP Albania, known with the name “Support to Territorial and Administrative Reform” (STAR) project.

The STAR project was designed with the intention to provide coherent technical, operational and logistic support to the reform process through the Minister of State for Local Issues - the central institution made responsible for the development and implementation of the reform.

In this respect, the Government/ Minister of State for Local Issues has the leading role and the responsibility for shaping the reform as well as for identifying and coordinating assistance and expertise for developing the reform content, while STAR ensures the reasonable resources and a timely response to the Government plans and its identified needs and activities.

What have we accomplished so far?

·         Engagement of 35 national and international experts to work and define the territorial consolidation criteria, assess in detail the socio-economic situation of the LGU in Albania and develop a range of feasible options for the new territorial consolidation

·         Establishment of a Technical Secretariat as a complementary support structure to the Minister of State for Local Issues to focus on the reform process

·         Mobilization of 13 regional coordinators operating at the regional level and liaising with the Minister of State for Local Issues and the Technical Secretariat as well as supporting the official reform regional working groups led by the respective Prefects in each region/prefecture

·         Organization of a study tour to Ireland during June -July 2014 with the participation of MPs composing the ad-hoc Parliamentary Commission on Administrative and Territorial Reform and other related central institutions to benefiting from the Irish LGU practitioners on a similar recent reform implemented in Ireland;

·         Support for several organized workshops, seminars, public consultation events, talk shows, technical and public debates, including 42 structured consultations with civil society and private sector, these latter involving directly 1785 people participating and contributing to the debate on the rationale and the proposed territorial and administrative reform options.

·         The respective consultation reports can be downloaded from http://www.reformaterritoriale.al/udherrefyes/dokumente  

·         Commissioning a national survey of a sample of 16.000 people about the necessity of the reform and the preferred option from a local perspective. The Survey report can be downloaded from http://reforma.idra.al/#harta

·         Maintenance and operation support for the official webpage on Territorial and Administrative Reform www.reformaterritoriale.al and facebook accounts; to date reaching 57805 visitors of the webpage and 2471 facebook followers;

·         Overall logistic and material support for the normal functioning of the Technical Secretariat, the mobility of the officials and experts working on the reform

·         Facilitated donor coordination and information sharing through regular STAR Steering Committee meeting s and other informal ones. 

Who finances it?



A pool of donors is already contributing to the programme, while some additional prospective ones are expected to join in the near future.

 The current contributors are:

·          Italian Government                                      $1,054,018

·          SIDA                                                            $746,837

·          USAID                                                          $300,000

·          Swiss Development Cooperation                  $300,000

·          UNDP                                                            $100,000

Delivery

Year Total
2013 USD 2500